Last Sunday I decided to try a new spot for sparrows. Didn’t find any “yellow” sparrows but it was loaded with Song and Swamp Sparrows. Plus my FOS White-crowned Sparrow was singing nearby and a few Eastern Meadowlarks thrown in for a bonus.
That’s all well and good but what caught my eye was a hawk in a nearby tree. When I first arrived there were crows hanging around. Every so often a couple would make a bee-line to a nearby tree.
It took a few minutes to finally spot the hawk they were harassing. Or was it a vulture? I wasn’t sure.
I wasn’t that far away and for someone who didn’t start birding yesterday, the call should have been instantaneous. But it wasn’t. So I walked closer hoping it wouldn’t fly.
As I moved closer it became clear that it was a hawk without any head feathers. Something I’ve never seen before. I was pretty certain it was a Red-tailed but still not 100%.
Otherwise the bird appeared healthy. After being harassed long enough it flew over to a nearby roof not showing any signs of illness. Its flight and landing both looked normal.
For fun I looked at other vultures around the world seeing if this guy looked like any of them. Thinks to Wikipedia I discovered there are 23 species in the world – 16 Old World and 7 New World. I looked at all 23 and none really have the brown of Red-tailed Hawk with a gray head. To my eye the closet one in appearance to the odd hawk is the Old World Cinereous Vulture also known as Eurasian Black Vulture or Monk Vulture.
If anyone has any idea what is wrong with the hawk please leave a comment.